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kank_39

Mini review of a Mini DAC

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I've been searching for a USB DAC for sometime and, being a newbie in the audio realm, i don't really know which one to get as the specs doesn't really speak much to me. I was even suspicious about the amount of sound quality improvement that a USB DAC has over the standard output of my IBM T42 notebook (I've read somewhere that the audio output of the IBM notebooks are pretty good as compred to others). Furthermore my setup is pretty lo-fi as compared to many audiophiles.

 

It was then that one of SGH overseas DIYer digi01 offered me a DIY USB DAC. He said that it's just an experimental product so he just made two. I was again pretty sceptical but for the price he was offering it for, i went for it. laugh.gif Result: My skeptism was all wiped out upon recieving the DAC.

 

DISCLAIMER: Please forgive me if my description aren't too detailed as I'm pretty new to this. smile.gif

 

Setup:

 

1) IBM T42 USB (Foobar2k) -> Mini DAC -> Little Dot II -> MS-1

2) IBM T42 USB (Foobar2k) -> Mini DAC -> AUX input of Mini Hifi (Denon D-M33)

 

Pics:

http://community.webshots.com/album/548052557UwrdqT

 

Built:

 

It's puny i have to say. It's as small as a matchbox (as seen in my pics) and it's pretty robust (as later seen in the installation description). Very good for people who needs to move around always.

 

Installation:

 

Well, this part is idiot-proof. Just plug and it's ready for action once Windows XP detects and installs the necessary driver. It's identified as a USB speaker.

 

Next, plug in the mini jack.. duh.. rolleyes.gif Now this part is a bit tricky in the beginning as a bit of brute force must be applied to fully insert the mini plug into the jack. Thus proving it's robustness is its built.

 

Sound:

 

Sound wise, i was taken away immediately when it was connected to my hifi as i played Sarah Mclaclun 's Afterglow LIVE. I tested it with speakers first because my primary purpose of buying a DAC is to play my music through my hifi. The difference was very very distinct when "A/B"ed with the crappy headphone jack of the T42. Soundstage increased trememdously. Signal is much clearer and the vocals is w00t.gifw00t.gif. The instrument seperation is very clear and I can hear little nuances of details from my speakers. I'm very impressed. However, the problem is that when i tried it with some poorly recorded death metal tracks, the sound was terrible! dry.gif It sounded so 1D! I guess the DAC brings out the good of good and the bad of bad. smile.gif

 

Next, i went for my headphone setup and again, i can hear much improvements in the sound. The signal is much cleaner. Treble is brought forward but not forward to a stage where all you can hear are the cymbals (I had a terrible experience with the DT880 as all i could hear from that pair of cans are the cymbals and high hats chiming through all my music). Bass is slightly tighter. Mids wise, I'm pretty satisfied with it although it doesn't really shine in that department. Overall, the sound is pretty smooth.

 

Conclusion:

Overall, I would like to say this is money really really well spent. After getting and experiencing with digi01's mini DAC, i swear that I'll never ever listen to the output jack of my T42 anymore. In fact, I just paid for another USB DAC (Firestone Fubar) so that i can have one at home and one in my office. Can't wait to do some comparison between the 2 DACs. headphone.gif

Edited by kank_39

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"Fubar II" USB DAC

Special Price:USD$ 120 (about 200)

from firestone-audio.com

 

Fubar USB DAC RMB550 (about 114)

www.headphoneworld.com

 

 

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"Fubar II" USB DAC

Special Price:USD$ 120 (about 200)

from firestone-audio.com

 

Fubar USB DAC RMB550 (about 114)

www.headphoneworld.com

I think the link should be www.headphoneworld.net and not .com wink.gif

 

Anyway my fubar that is coming is modded by digi01 so the sound, according to him, is somehow different as compared to the stock ones. Can't wait to get it next week.

 

Anyway, Qsilver, you can bring your gear down (if your source is a laptop) to audition the fubar USB DAC at Jaben@Adelphi if you're wondering how the fubar would sound. wink.gif

Edited by kank_39

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Cool! If you don't mind what price you paid your mod fubar? Or you can PM me the price.

Fubar compatible with mac right? Thanks biggrin.gif

Btw the www.headphoneworld.net price is in RMB or Yen?

Edited by Qsilver

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Hi all,

 

this thread about USB DACs got me thinking.

 

I have recently bought a Diyeden LILO 2 USB Soundcard, the chinese description make it sounds like both a soundcard and amp.

 

Previously, using my laptop internal sound, there is no so-called soundstage and bass was muddy as well.

 

But with this fella, i can differentiate distances in instruments and the bass was resonant and warm as well.

 

NOTE: used with UM1 and errrr not so great mp3 recordings, 128kbps types

 

Just wanna check with you fellas, using usb soundcards, would adding an amp on it make things better? hahaha

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Hi all,

 

this thread about USB DACs got me thinking.

 

I have recently bought a Diyeden LILO 2 USB Soundcard, the chinese description make it sounds like both a soundcard and amp.

 

Previously, using my laptop internal sound, there is no so-called soundstage and bass was muddy as well.

 

But with this fella, i can differentiate distances in instruments and the bass was resonant and warm as well.

 

NOTE: used with UM1 and errrr not so great mp3 recordings, 128kbps types

 

Just wanna check with you fellas, using usb soundcards, would adding an amp on it make things better? hahaha

It would definately change the sound coming out of it.

For better or worse, thats going to depend on what amp it is and your ears.

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